When I was reviewing Belle Haven’s upcoming album (You, Me and Everything in Between, releasing on June 16th via Greyscale Records), “By Hook or by Crook” was the track that grabbed me and left me stunned and emotionally moved. It’s been shared today, along with the release of a video.
The Melbourne band have created something powerful with this track, which is emotionally honest and raw, capturing the experience of loss of a loved one. It’s true to life for the band, created in response to the loss of the grandfather of David and Christopher.
A loss comes with confusion and questions: Why them? Why not me? Why now? David asks all of these questions, to a God he feels betrayed by, hates and doubts, wondering if He’s even real.
“I told myself he’s not a ghost
He’s not a ghost just yet
And then you took him and I hate you
I’ll come for your head”
It’s clearly personal territory that’s being explored and shared here, but Belle Haven have already shown that they aren’t afraid to take vulnerable real topics for them and use music as a kind of catharsis.
The video hits as hard as the track, capturing David on the morning of the funeral of his Pa. In his black suit, he drives, and struggles within himself, clearly having a hard time. My personal interpretation of what happens next is that a younger self becomes apparent to David. A younger self that’s in pain (or worse) and needs him, stopping him in his tracks.
David may not have been keeping it together in his present-day adult form, but on behalf of this younger self, he manages to gain courage. He carries the younger self in his arms toward those that can help; those waiting at the site of the funeral. Then, in this adult present-ness, friends take David’s hand and are there for him, giving strength that he couldn’t find on his own, ironically making the younger self a source of strength and support, as well as someone he was rescuing.
Honestly, the way the video has been created, it’s artfully open to interpretation, allowing each of us to take it in and process it in our own way. The child being hit could be seen as evidence of David’s self-described patheticness, proving himself to God as one that should be taken instead. But again the acceptance and support of friends makes that disappear.
This makes “By Hook or by Crook” a powerful piece of music for anyone going through the experience of loss.
Edit: We were able to speak directly with David and ask for his insight on the meaning behind this part of the music video. He shared that the child was a creation of his mind, a distraction from the heavy reality of what was going on.